For a second straight game, the Rockets used a late fourth quarter run to pull away from the Mavericks to seal the win. Now Dallas is a small 1.5-point favorite on the NBA odds.
The Houston Rockets Can Win Because…
The Mavericks are a mess right now. They’re basically a team that’s crumbling right in front of our eyes and that’s not a good thing as they get set for a do-or-die outing in Game 3. In Game 2, Rajon Rondo mostly quit on the team and was benched after playing pathetically. He lasted only 10 minutes while Raymond Felton played down the stretch in crunch time. While Rondo is proving to be a locker-room cancer, he isn’t the only problem for Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki can’t seem to bang with the big boys anymore as he had just 10 points on three-of-14 shooting in Game 2. As for Monta Ellis, he continues to be an inefficient volume shooter as he’s now made just 13-of-39 shots so far this series. Beyond that, the Mavs have a very bizarre rotation where players get all sorts of weird minutes like Al-Farouq Aminu playing 23 in Game 2, Amar’e Stoudemire at 16, J.J. Barea at 34 and Richard Jefferson at 23. The Mavs are simply a team without an identity right now and that’s their main issue.
As for the Rockets, they’ve won two games with James Harden providing minimal contributions so far. The Beard has shot just nine-of-28 from the field through two games while scoring 24 points each time. If he starts to turn it up a notch, the Rockets should be able to cruise in Game 3 to another victory, but should we add them to our NBA picks this Friday?
The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
They’re back at home, which is a big deal. Yes, Dallas was a decent road team this season (23-18) but playing at home is their real money maker. They are 27-14 at home this season and the ball should start to bounce their way in the friendly confines.
The truth of the matter is that as much of a mess as they have been through two games with the chemistry issues and the defensive flaws, they were still in both games until the fourth quarter. In both cases, the Rockets had to pull away late in the game to secure the victory. Now that Dallas is at home, they should be the ones to charge ahead; not the other way around.
While Rondo is a big issue, the bigger one could be the Mavs defense. They are giving up an average of 114.5 points per game through two contests and that’s without Harden even hitting his regular season scoring average. The Mavs have no answer for the Rockets bench and Dwight Howard is getting stronger as the series goes.
With the Mavs having chemistry issues on top of it, they aren’t long for these playoffs. Look for the Rockets, who were a very good road team (26-15), to upend them and cash as a road dog on the NBA betting odds lines.
NBA Pick: Rockets +1.5 at The Greek